Ello

Archives by month/year

Yob – Clearing The Path To Ascend

Neurot

Yob - Clearing The Path To AscendYob are a band I’ve been kind of meaning to check out for years, after reading about them in a metal mag years ago, so when this dropped into my lap it was — well, not quite a dream come true, but at least the fulfilment of a vague longing. It was also a relief to find that they don’t sound anything like Keith Allen (that’s a Comic Strip Presents gag. Ask your grandma).

Fulfilment of a Vague Longing would probably be a good name for an album by someone at some point, but very definitely not this one. There’s nothing vague about Clearing The Path To Ascend. This is a record that knows what it wants by a band that knows what it wants. And what they both want is to be HEAVY. Very, very heavy indeed. And given all the tools available to a rock band, they approach the problem of heaviness from all available angles. And they take their time, because they know that if a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing properly.

There’s not a track under ten minutes long, but there’s also very little time wasted, and plenty of less intense passages for quiet (well, actually quite loud, but these things are relative) introspection. This isn’t a band that dicks around and noodles; this is precision heaviness, a laser-guided asteroid plunging to Earth, and there’s a bit of Earth here in opener “In Our Blood”‘s near-glacial percussion, underpinning a truly sick Sabbath/Melvins riff over which the wonderfully-named Mike Scheidt alternately growls in the Voice Of Doom and wails like Perry Farrell, making the whole thing sound somewhat akin to a beautiful mash-up of Jane’s Addiction and Thorr’s Hammer.

“Nothing To Win” clears a somewhat faster path to ascend, coming on like black metal, falling somewhere between the intense dynamics of Neurosis and the sheer psychedelic exuberance of Nachtmystium. And it is, needless to say, very heavy indeed. By “Unmask The Spectre” it’s safe to say the path has been well and truly cleared, and we are drifting in space. Whether that’s outer or inner I’ll leave you to decide, but I like to think of it as being trapped on a derelict starship with a kick-ass rhythm section. And possibly powered by steam, given the amount of chugging that’s going on. Either way, it’s probably crashing into a sun or something (think Disaster Area) or plunging into that black hole where Swans live, which would certainly be a novel way of achieving peak heaviness.

Another way, of course, is to close with a nearly twenty-minute prog rock epic evoking along the way Tool at their Tooliest, and even a bit of Jesu, what with the bass riffs that seem to grind even as they wash over the ears. Like pumice stone, maybe. Or a particularly abrasive soap. By the time they get their Floyd on, soaring solos and everything (well, everything except the “a bit wanky”-ness) about half-way through, it’s almost a relief to have a bit of a breather. Except, of course, that this is just a precursor for the last bit where we get the spirally spacey stuff AND the intense heaviosity both at the same time, and the overall effect is really quite beautiful.

This is intensely physical music, sure, but it’s music for the heart as much as the muscles. Through the application of heaviness, Yob have created an almost triumphant sadness. Music for watching the sun burn out.

-Justin Farrington-

> Print this page

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>